The Week #140by
- Spring is on its way and it couldn't have come soon enough. Especially after getting so many warm mid-20's days in Texas. My inner-Dutchman is be proud that the tulips we planted are coming up. They're my favorite and for 3 years in a row I said "I'll plant some next year" and thanks to Yumi, we actually did. I'm looking forward to seeing them bloom.
- Leo came home from school on Tuesday early with a small fever and not feeling so well. Naturally when I go to pick him up, he's fine and bouncing around. He wasn't sick, but with spring in the air, he has allergies now. The next day we took him to the doctor and they confirmed this and gave us some allergy meds/eyedrops for Leo to drink twice a day.
- While back from school, he played a bit more switch than usual. He somehow discovered the e-store and downloaded the demo of Kirby. I haven't played much Kirby in my time, but it's a lot of fun. It also supports two-player mode, so we can play cooperatively. I wish more games had a cooperative story mode (I used to play Quake-2 pretty often in cooperative mode back in the day).
- With Spring means the end of school year and the start of a new. Next year Leo will be in his final year of pre-school, which means it's time to start preparing for a year from now: elementary school.
We went and looked at randoseru, the traditional Japanese leather backpack that kids use throughout elementary school. It used to be there was only two colors: black and red. Now days there's heaps of colors, though mostly for girls. I wish I could find it to link to it, but there's an episode of Japanology Plus about school satchels that goes into the history and how they're made and is really interesting.
Why are we looking now, a year before he needs it? Basically they're all handmade and you need to order it about a year in advance. They're also quite expensive. The bags we were looking at ranged from $500 - $1,000 dollars.
We decided to buy from was Tsuchiya Randoseru in Kamakura, where Leo's cousin bought from, so we know it's a quality product. We decided on one of the less-expensive ones in a nice olivey-green that looks great on Leo. Thankfully it's one of the few options remaining for boys 😀.
- On Monday had a bit of a meltdown before going to pre-school. We have a car, but try to use it as little as possible. It's a 7 minute walk / 3 minute bike ride to his school and he refused to sit on his seat my bike and instead take the car. I told him no, the weather is nice are taking the bike or we could walk. He had a meltdown and in the end I carried him while he's crying and screaming the entire way to school.
He's 5 years old now, this isn't acceptable behavior, so he lost his switch privledges for the night. Which he didn't realize until he got home from school where he promptly had another meltdown for 30 minutes.
There's a number of behavioral changes I'd like to address with Leo and habits I'd like him to form. Getting upset / fighting about them isn't fun and isn't solving them. You catch more bees with honey than with vinegar.
I'm thinking about creating a chart with various changes / things that Leo needs to do. e.g. go to school without fighting / having a meltdown, putting his bento box in the kitchen when he gets home from school, going to swimming with a smile (he's not a fan of the current teacher), trying to eat new foods, quitting the switch when his time is up etc...
Each time he does the desired change he gets a gold star to stick on the chart. When he collects enough stars total he gets Kirby. And to maintain access to Kirby, he will need continue those practices. My hope is that they'll become habit along the way and life becomes less stressful.
- Recommended podcast this week is The Beanpod Podcast. It's life updates from @tbeanpod on twitter (and @email@example.com, but he doesn't seem to post there 😭 mastodon needs his Ishikawa vibes). He often includes a song he wrote himself and sings them while playing guitar. A great listen while walking the dog.
Checkin to Verve Coffee Roasters
Coffee and some cake. 😋
byIt’s warming up so we didn’t use the heat last night and my battery lasted through morning 🎉
The Week #139by
- I submitted my resignation...to the employer of record we've been using in Japan as the Japanese Kraken Tech legal entity is ready for employees. Day-to-day, in practice nothing changes for me, except a different company is making my salary deposit each month and I'll get a different insurance card. But it will be nice to officially/legally be an employee of the company I've been working at for the past (almost) 18 months.
- I went for my annual health check. I probably mention this every year, but I am really like the process itself. Basically over the course of about 45 minutes I visit a bunch of stations, each with multiple nurses ready to process the next person in the queue. They're all tests that you're just not going to do, but give you a good baseline of your health (stool, urine, blood, hearing, vision, heart rhythm, and chest x-ray). You can even add extras if you have different concerns that need monitoring. At the end you sit with a doctor who shows you your results and talks through them and compares them with last year.
This year my blood pressure was down from just above the limit (2 years running!) to completely normal. Also I didn't get hit with slightly elevated cholesterol numbers, either, which makes me happy. The only downer was, though surprising, was that I gained a kilo, putting me at 76.0.
- Perhaps related I went from a strong December / January running to a grand total of 1 time in February. I took my running stuff with me to the US, but it didn't feel safe to run – too many big cars driving by at 60kmh and no real path. Then with Jet lag and the back tweak...let's aim for getting back into the groove next month. I need to make more badges.
- I finished off my prep for filing my Japanese taxes, I think. Most of it is just documenting my foreign account transactions and the exchange rate of that day so I can report it yen. I always put it off because I don't like working with excel, especially in my free time, but when I'm done I always like looking at the results with everything nice and neat.
Checkin to Blue Bottle Coffee
Breaking fast after my health check.
MufasaingbyNothing makes you feel old before your time like a back injury. Let me rewind. Leo doesn't always like taking a shower/bath. One day, while in America, instead of taking a shower with me, he by himself. But he's only 5 – he still needs help.
The shower head in the house we were staying was fixed to the wall i.e. it didn't have a hose. And the water pressure left a lot to be desired. In order to rinse Leo I needed to hold him up like Mufasa presenting Simba to the rest of the animals on the Lion King so I don't get wet. As he was against showing in the first place, the moment I start Mufasaing him, he starts throwing all of his 15kg of weight around and tweak.
Back in Japan I visit the orthopedic doctor and as I suspected he gave me a hernia. The fix will take a couple of weeks, but mostly seems to involve heating to relax my back and then putting me in a chair that lays me back and gently pulls my hips / stretches my spine until everything goes back to where it's supposed to be. What a pain. Literally.
Checkin to Single O Hamachoby in Chuo, Tokyo, Japan
byLeo’s asking some deep questions. Things like “When we die, does this mean we can’t live in Japan”. Oof.
Checkin to Starbucks
Sakura season has started! Yay! 🌸
The Week #138by
- We flew back to Japan and we're all happy to be home. By day 10 in America, we had spent the entire time going full-throttle meeting people, going places, and doing things and we were all tired and ready to get back into our regular routine again.
- Before the flight I bought the extra Mario Kart levels to give us something new to do on the plane. I really like this "expansion pack" model with Mario Kart. For ¥2,500 we get new 48 new courses to play and they're delivered over the next year or so. Half the price of a new game and we regularly get new content without needing to buy new games.
- The flight was mostly uneventful. The main mishap was that despite me updating my reservation via the app to include kids meals and Asian Vegetarian meals for the adults, none of them got saved. And as we were coming America, this means there's no rice dishes and nothing that Leo would eat. He survived on half of the bagel he didn't eat for his breakfast and some random bread / butter we could scrounge up.
What was annoying was that the staff didn't apologize for their system messing up and instead told me to check with the ground staff next time. I shouldn't need to do that? And I've asked this before, but why aren't children's reservations set to automatically include a kids meal?
- Once we landed in Japan everyone exhausted. But since this is a fully-developed country (and Japan at that) we were able to send our luggage to our house via kuroneko (Japanese fedex), to be delivered the next morning and enjoy a nice rail trip on the Narita Express to Totsuka. Leo ate the food he missed most, a salmon onigiri before falling asleep.
Once in Totsuka, we took a taxi home, brushed our teeth, and collapsed in bed – almost exactly 24 hours after we started the journey from the hotel.
- And speaking of Salmon Onigiri, Leo missed them so much he had them the next day (Sunday) for breakfast as well. And some for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Monday. Onigiri is Leo's life force.
- I subscribed to a new blog brr.fyi. It is chronicling life in Antarctica through the winter. I've only read a few posts so far, but it's well written and is quite thought provoking – seeing what it takes to keep humans alive in such harsh conditions.